I had the absolute pleasure of attending the inaugural Orlando Magazine Women of the Year event at the Alfond Inn. The 23 best and brightest movers and shakers in Orlando were nominated for their exceptional ways throughout Central Florida. These powerful women are truly making waves and redefining women empowerment in our great city. They are educators, mentors, counselors, fund-raisers, business owners, and managers of organizations that help those in need. But most of all they are leaders, who step forward to help keep our community strong.
The Orlando Magazine Women Of The Year Honorees:
Shanta Barton-Stubbs, Catherine Steck McManus, Elizabeth Forrest, Karla Radka, Kay Rawlins, Lashea Reaves
Nancy Ludin, Elisha González Bonnewitz, Teresa Tachon, Lambrine Macejewski, Laura Diaz
Kari Conley, Jenna Dail, Brenda March, Marnie Forestieri, Blue Star, Heather Wilkie, Desirée Matthews, Christina Tineo
Cindy LaRoe, Lara Lee, Laura Eidson Cosgrove, Michelle Chira Carlton
Orlando Magazine Women Of The Year Favorites
Laura Diaz | Founder | Face of a Feminist
We all know Laura Diaz as the fun-loving radio personality, but she is so much more than that! I first heard about Face of a Feminist when she featured her Sister, Luvi and her infertility journey. After that, I have seen her feature so many women in Central Florida and tell their stories in such a beautiful way. She wasn’t able to attend the event because she was hard at work, but we all missed her and gave her a HUGE congratulations! If you haven’t yet please visit https://www.faceofafeminist.com
About Laura: An on-air personality for Johnny’s House on 106.7 FM and a former WKMG Channel 6 anchor, Diaz launched her nonprofit to depoliticize the concept of feminism and empower women and girls.
“Laura is the face of modern feminism. She proves that we can have all we want,” one nomination reads. “Her work with postpartum depression is also admirable. She openly announced and discussed her own experience with postpartum. I think she exemplifies a woman who is making a positive impact on our community,” says another.
“To achieve empowerment, inspiration and unity, I recorded interviews that showcased strong women from all walks of life and shared the videos on social media,” Diaz says. The organization has held fundraisers that have benefited such organizations as Harbor House of Central Florida and the Victim Service Center of Central Florida. She also has a podcast.
Jenna Dail | Founder and Executive Director | The Color Blue and Hope
When I heard about Jenna and The Color Blue and Hope I was immediately drawn to her. I like Jenna suffered a miscarriage that I don’t often speak about. It was before I had Taylor, and thankfully I was blessed with two healthy girls after. I am looking forward to collaborating through Live Like a Mother and donating items for these amazing Boxes Jenna distributes! Here is more information about Jenna:
Dail’s nonprofit began as a blog through which she shared her journey of losing twin boys at 22 weeks of her pregnancy. In February 2017, she began sending gift boxes to pregnant moms on bed rest and to those who have lost newborns as a way to “spread God’s hope, love and joy, as well as His strength in the middle of each storm,” she says.
The organization fills Boxes of Hope with donated items—toiletries, notebooks, note cards and devotionals—designed to encourage pregnant moms on bed rest at hospitals around the country. Boxes of Love are customized to offer support to moms at their specific stages of grief.
“Since February 2017, we have been able to send 450 Boxes of Hope to mothers on bed rest at Florida Hospital, Winnie Palmer and all over the United States,” Dail says. “We have also been able to send 39 Boxes of Love to grieving mothers.” Her goal is to provide 600 boxes to moms on bed rest each year.
Karla Radka | COO | Goodwill Industries of Central Florida
My first impression of Karla was a GREAT one. When I saw that she works for Goodwill I had an instant connection because I donate to our local Goodwill at least monthly. I also love to shop there! I wanted to honor her mission by going to my Goodwill and buying a dress specifically for this event! It was an easy task and I found the perfect dress within minutes. It was also a STEAL at $2.99… Fashion lovers unite! We found a few things for my home decor as well and couldn’t help myself! I purchased 6 items and my total was $11! I urge everyone to donate and shop there. You are creating jobs and making a difference! Here is more information about Karla and her story:
Radka has been called “instrumental in the nonprofit’s remarkable success in 2017”—defined by assistance to 47,531 residents and job placements for 8,102—in her role at Goodwill overseeing a host of retail stores, Donation XPress locations and Job Connection Centers in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Lake and Volusia counties.
Under her leadership, donations and revenues are climbing. “Thanks in part to Karla’s leadership, Goodwill expanded its reach into every corner of the six counties it served, opening a new Job Connection Center both in DeLand and at its headquarters in South Orlando, a location strategically chosen to meet the needs of job-seekers with limited transportation,’’ a nomination reads. “Goodwill also continued to broaden its array of programs, including a relationship with the City of Orlando through the GoodSource temporary staffing agency for homeless Central Floridians.” Radka is also credited for her efforts in disaster relief.
The $2.99 dress:
Lashea C. Reaves | Founder and Executive Director | 8 Cents in a Jar
I had the pleasure of sitting at a table with Lashea. Her bright and exuberant personality radiated though the room and she was a gracious and sweet honoree. I can relate to her because I too, lost one of my parents at a young age. I love that she made a positive change in her life out of such a difficult circumstance. Not only in her life, but now in HUNDREDS of other children need support in our community.
Read more about Lashea Orlando Magazine Women of the Year:
Reaves is a chain-breaker, one who helps others break generational cycles of poverty and poor financial management, earning her the distinction of being a “compelling voice for the voiceless, an effective hope of the hopeless.”
In 2016, Reaves created 8 Cents in a Jar, a nonprofit devoted to teaching financial education to underserved students. Students receive in-home counseling on wealth-building techniques. Since its inception, the organization has helped 875 students in Central and South Florida.
“Since relocating to Orlando in 2008, she started her mission to make this city her home and effect change,” a nomination reads.
“I’ve witnessed firsthand the power and prosperity of people,” Reaves says. “At 14 years of age, my mother passed away unexpectedly, followed by my father [when I was] 21, In both instances, countless individuals through their respective organizations gave their time, talent and treasure. When I became the legal guardian of my younger sister, I continued to receive love and support from my community. As a thank you, I have no choice but to pay it forward as I passionately believe I was saved to serve others.”
The Public Speaking Coach with the most Mary Gardner at the Orlando Magazine Women of the Year Event. She had our attention giving tips!
Thank you to Orlando Magazine for having me. It was a memorable breakfast!
Orlando Magazine Women Of The Year
The Alfond Inn: Perfect Service and Amazing Atmosphere
Many Thanks to The Orlando Magazine Women Of The Year Sponsors:
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